Fire crews battle wildfires in northern Thailand


Fire crews were today (March 26) battling wildfires that have been raging in northern Thailand for several weeks.

The blaze has ravaged more than 40 acres of woodland near the Doi Luang National Park in Phayao province. Neighbouring Chiang Mai province has also been hit with wildfires.

Firefighters were joined by rescue teams, volunteers and National Park officers as they worked together to extinguish inferno.

Local park chief Thon Khampond said: ‘The cause of the wildfires is unclear but it’s safe to assume it was man-made. Five or six hotspots have appeared recently. We had to climb the mountain to reach them and stop the fires before they approached residential zones.

‘We spent all day and night to finish the task and managed to extinguish some flames in the process.’

Locals also volunteered to watch over the situation by setting up checkpoints to prevent people who might get in the forests and start fires, which residents use to collect plants and hunt animals.

Hotspots, signifying the wildfires, continued to increase in the province, affecting the quality of air in the area.

Ozone gas has been measured at 65 ppb, moderate stage for sensitive people such as children, elderly and pregnant women. Experts suggest narby residents stay indoors.

The northern region of Thailand has suffered from wildfires that emitted hazardous haze throughout the last two months. The concentration of harmful PM2.5 dust particles has also exceeded the safe standard several days in a row.

Officials tried to tackle the crisis on the ground and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment deployed helicopters carrying water to dump on the flames from the above.

However, the critical situation has not improved and the officials are now hoping that summer storms arriving from China could douse the wildfires.